LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A two-run double by Brett Stephens in the seventh inning lifted UCLA to a 2-1 victory over Cal Poly in the opening game of a three-game non-conference baseball series Friday night inside windy Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Mustang junior right-hander Erich Uelmen (pictured above) was working on a four-hit shutout and secured the first two outs of the seventh inning on three pitches before he hit a batter and gave up a single to Gavin Johns. Stephens broke up the scoreless pitchers' duel with a double to the gap in left-center field, scoring both runners.
Cal Poly rallied for a run with two outs in the ninth but couldn't push across the tying run.
In falling to 18-22 on the year, Cal Poly was held to six hits and left a trio of runners stranded at third base. UCLA improved to 20-18.
Cal Poly avoided being shut out for the eighth time this season with a run in the ninth. Third baseman Bradlee Beesley and shortstop Kyle Marinconz both singled with two outs and a wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position.
First baseman Michael Sanderson's slow roller up the third-base line for a single scored Beesley and knocked Griffin Canning out of the game, but a strikeout by reliever Scott Burke ended the game, leaving Mustang runners at first and third.
Mustang catcher Nick Meyer doubled down the left-field line with one out in the fifth inning and moved to third on a groundout, but was left there. Beesley singled to open the seventh and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and groundout, but also was stranded at third.
Canning (4-2) earned the victory, scattering six hits over 8 2/3 innings. The junior right-hander threw 109 pitches, did not allow a walk and struck out 10, lifting his season strikeout total to 98 over 77 1/3 innings. Stone earned his second save.
Uelmen (2-7) once again pitched well enough to win most games, but suffered the loss as he gave up two runs and six hits over 6 2/3 innings with one walk and six strikeouts.
Beesley (pictured at left) was the lone Mustang with multiple hits, singling twice.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday at 2 o'clock with Cal Poly sophomore right-hander Spencer Howard (3-1, 2.31 ERA) to face UCLA senior right-hander Moises Ceja (2-3, 2.44 ERA).
The series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 1 o'clock.
Photos courtesy of Jack Duffy